Anger and organization studies: from social disorder to moral order

Dirk Lindebaum, Yiannis Gabriel

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In this essay, we oppose current conceptualizations of anger as, at least, a temporary individual psychological disorder and as the cause of a social disorder. We develop the view that anger can be a profoundly moral emotion aimed at maintaining moral order and restoring social order when this has been ruptured. Moral anger is distinguished from other types of anger, like the ones arising from routine frustration, break-downs of communication and ego violations. Through a close reading of the jury drama Twelve Angry Men, we demonstrate that moral anger has an information dimension, signaling a rupture of a moral code, as well as an energic dimension, as a source of energy aimed at putting right a wrong. We conclude that a world without anger would be, possibly, a compliant and quiescent world but not a just world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-918
Number of pages16
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number7
Early online date15 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Moral anger
  • Moral order
  • Organizing
  • Social disorder


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